Cristiano Ronaldo has tested positive for the coronavirus, Portuguese football authorities announced today.
The 35-year-old superstar is asymptomatic but has isolated himself and will miss Portugal’s game against Sweden on Wednesday.
The news comes just days after the five-time Ballon d’Or winner played for Portugal against France in the Nations League and Spain in an international friendly, meaning he recently been in contact with a host of big football stars.
There are also concerns for his international teammates after Ronaldo posed for a photo with them hours before the news broke, with the former Manchester United and Real Madrid star smiling for a selfie at dinner.
Ronaldo immediately left the national team after returning his positive test and is now in doubt for Juventus’ upcoming games.
Ronaldo (bottom left) poses for a photo with his teammates hours before the news broke
Cristiano Ronaldo – pictured up close with Frenchman Kylian Mbappe as he played for Portugal against France on Sunday – has tested positive for coronavirus
Ronaldo’s girlfriend Georgina Rodriguez immediately posted a photo that appeared to show her on a FaceTime call with the player, calling it ‘my inspiration’
Among those sitting next to Ronaldo at dinner were his former Real Madrid teammate Pepe and Sergio Oliveira, who also plays for Porto, Wolves’ Daniel Podence and Manchester City’s Joao Cancelo. Manchester United’s Bruno Fernandes is also part of the Portuguese squad.
In the game against France on Sunday night, Ronaldo was seen shaking hands with a number of stars, including PSG’s Kylian Mbappe.
Chelsea’s Olivier Giroud has also hugged Ronaldo full-time, six days before the West London side’s next game against Southampton on Saturday.
French player Eduardo Camavinga swapped shirts with the Portuguese star and then posted to say he “wouldn’t wash it”.
Ronaldo played all 90 minutes of the game at the Stade de France in Paris, which ended scoreless.
Four days earlier, Ronaldo played a friendly against Spain in Lisbon, hugging a teammate and shaking hands with his manager after being substituted in the second half.
His close contacts on the occasion included Tottenham Hotspur defender Sergio Reguilon, who is due to return for his side in their game against West Ham on Sunday.
Portuguese Jose Fonte and Anthony Lopes had already tested positive since the start of the international break, but it is not known if Ronaldo was infected by them.
Ronaldo, 35, has been confirmed to be asymptomatic and is now self-isolating while he recovers.
The Portuguese federation did not immediately disclose details of where Ronaldo was isolated, nor how long he was staying.
However, Ronaldo’s result prompted another round of tests for the rest of the squad, all of which tested negative.
The rest of the squad were due to practice normally on Tuesday ahead of their match against Sweden in Lisbon tomorrow.
The French team have also tested negative, but new infections can take a few days to be detected, meaning there is no guarantee that they have escaped infection from Ronaldo.
Ronaldo’s test result puts him in doubt for the Juventus Champions League group game with Barcelona on October 28, which was set to face him against former rival Lionel Messi.
Juventus had been isolated after testing positive for two staff members, but Ronaldo and six others were allowed to leave the isolated squad and join their national teams.
However, Italian health authorities reported that the players’ departure was a violation of protocol and said local prosecutors had been notified.
Ronaldo touches Kylian Mbappe at the end of Portugal’s game with France on Sunday night
Ronaldo puts an arm around Real Madrid and French defender Raphael Varane on Sunday
There were also hugs for Chelsea striker Olivier Giroud at the end of the Nations League shock
Four days before the game against France, Ronaldo was at the heart of the action in a friendly against Spain, seen here defying a header against Tottenham Hotspur’s Sergio Reguilon.
Ronaldo shook hands with his manager (left) and hugged teammate Joao Felix (right) after being substituted in the game against Spain last Wednesday.
According to Portuguese media, the country’s football authorities informed Ronaldo’s mother, Dolores Aveiro, of the test result before announcing it to the world.
Ronaldo rushed to his mother’s side after Aveiro suffered a life-threatening stroke in March.
Today she posted a photo of him wearing a Portugal jersey on social media, alongside the post: “God has given great battles to great warriors. “And it’s another war you’re going to win, son.”
Minutes after the announcement, Ronaldo’s girlfriend Georgina Rodriguez posted a photo to Instagram that appeared to show the Portuguese superstar in a good mood during a FaceTime call with her.
Along with the snap, she wrote: “You are my inspiration @ Cristiano”.
Ronaldo’s positive test comes shortly after two of his Portuguese teammates also tested positive for Covid-19.
Earlier in the international break, Anthony Lopes and Jose Fonte had contracted the virus and were also immediately kicked out of the group.
French youngster Eduardo Camavinga said he ‘would not wash’ Ronaldo’s shirt on Sunday
Portugal hit a new high of 1,646 daily coronavirus cases this weekend after experiencing a surge in infections with the rest of Western Europe
Portugal typically records around 10 coronavirus deaths per day and has suffered 2,080 deaths since the start of the pandemic
The news of Ronaldo’s positive test was confirmed in a statement from the Portuguese FA, which reads: “Cristiano Ronaldo has been released from national team work after testing positive for Covid-19, so he will not against Sweden.
“The Portuguese international is doing well, without symptoms and in isolation.
“Following the positive case, the remaining players underwent new tests this Tuesday morning, all with a negative result, and are available for [manager] Fernando Santos for training this afternoon in Cidade do Futebol.
Santos had declared before the match against France that “we are the most tested people and we have the guarantee that all those who will travel to France with us are negative”.
Like the rest of Western Europe, Portugal has seen a recent resurgence in coronavirus cases and on Saturday announced a record 1,646 cases in one day.
The state of emergency imposed on September 15 limited gatherings to 10 people and the opening hours of commercial establishments.
The pandemic has severely damaged the tourism-dependent economy of the country, with the central bank expecting GDP to contract 8.1% this year.
Ronaldo’s positive test will raise further questions as to whether the international meetings should have taken place at the height of a global pandemic.
The likes of Milan Skriniar, Leo Dubois, Manuel Akanji, Naby Keita and Amadou Diawara all also contracted Covid-19 during their time with their national teams, much to the anger of their club bosses.
Brazil striker Neymar, his PSG teammate Mbappe and AC Milan striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic have also tested positive for the virus in recent weeks.